Computer Troubleshooting and Prepping for a Service Call

Don't have an IT department or partner and you need a quick fix?  You have an IT partner but you're not sure how to help expedite a fix?  When you are experiencing an issue with your computers or network it's never fun no matter your circumstance.  In this article we are running through some steps you can take to DIY a basic fix by computer troubleshooting in your practice and will wrap up with how you can best prepare for a service call with your IT partner.

Computer Troubleshooting Step One

1) Restart you computer, or whatever device is giving you issues. This may seem like a running joke on various sitcoms, but you would be surprised at how often this works. For a PC the most effective way is by first clicking the "Windows" button on your computer screen.

ALERT: Be sure to save any open documents or images you have before restarting your computer.

Once you've clicked the Windows button, select the "Restart" option. Be sure to watch the machine as the restart process begins, sometimes Windows will have a problem closing a program and require you to click a "restart anyway" prompt. Don't let this option scare you, typically this is just the computers way of making sure you have saved the changes to anything that is still open before it restarts.

2) If your system is frozen and you cannot click the Windows button on your screen, the next best option is what we call a "hard reboot". *Special note: this should only be done if you cannot get the system to shut down as described above.

To perform a hard restart, hold the power button on your computer until you can see the lights on the computer turn off, and you hear the fans stop running. Keep in mind, the power button for your computer is typically located on what we refer to as "the tower" this is the (typically) black box that all your USB devices are plugged into, engraved "Dell" or "HP" or the like. The power button located on your monitor (the screen) typically only controls the power to the monitor and will not reboot your computer.

3) Once your computer has powered off, wait about thirty seconds, and then power the computer back on. This may take some time; be patient and allow the computer to process. Sometimes the root cause of the initial problem may have been a Windows update that got stuck. The computer will automatically apply that update after restart and sometimes this process takes time.

Computer Troubleshooting Step Two

If the issue persists after a reboot, then it may be a problem with a loose cable. Most frequently this is the case when a computer cannot connect to the internet. The best way to resolve this is to follow the connection cables from the device that is giving you issues to their source.

1) Be sure to check both ends of the cables, as well as all cables leaving the device. Some devices, like webcams or headphones may have only one cable connecting them directly to the computer. If possible, unplug the cable from the back of the device itself, then plug it back in. Once you have done this, follow the cable to wherever it is plugged in on the computer, and unplug it there, then plug it back in. For USB devices, it is best practice to plug into a different USB port on the computer if one is available.

2) Some devices such as computer monitors, and printers may have two cables going to them. One is a power cable, and one is the cable connecting the device to the computer. As above, it is best practice to first unplug the power cable from the wall, then the second cable from the computer. Once this is done, plug the power cable in first, then plug the other cable back into the computer; if possible, plug the device into a different port than it was originally plugged into.

Computer Troubleshooting: A Note on Testing Plugs

If your device is giving you an issue, it is always best practice to test the device, or the port, in another way.

1) If your device is having power issues, try plugging something else into whatever power unit it was plugged into so that you can see if the new device also has power issues.

2) If a peripheral device such as a keyboard, mouse, intraoral camera, or sensor is not working on a particular computer, try it on another computer.

3) If your device is plugged into any extra piece of equipment such as an extension cable or USB hub, try removing the extension cable, or bypassing the hub by plugging the device directly into an open port on the computer.

Computer Troubleshooting, What Comes Next?

Finally, after you've done all you can do with some computer troubleshooting the best way to get quick and efficient help with your problem is to make sure to capture a screenshot of the error so that your technical support staff can more easily identify the problem. This can be done several ways:

1) The first, and perhaps easiest way to submit a screen shot of the error (if you are a Darkhorse Tech client) is to simply click on the Darkhorse icon located in the lower righthand corner of your screen, near the clock.  Once you have clicked on this, there will be an option to add a screenshot to the ticket you submit directly to us.

2) Pressing the Print Screen, or "prtsc" button on your keyboard takes a screen capture of whatever is currently on the computer screen. Once this is done, simply open a program like word or paint, and paste the image into that.

3) Finally, Microsoft windows comes with a built in "Snipping Tool" that can be accessed by typing its name into the windows search bar in the lower left hand corner of your screen. This will allow you to select specific portions of your screen to save as a screenshot.

About Darkhorse Tech

Whether you're just starting out or a well-established organization, Darkhorse Tech has the experience and technology to help get you moving, cut costs, and streamline your operations via unlimited IT support. We are here to help you do what you do best: focus on providing top-notch care and service for patients - not dealing with IT problems, lag time spent talking with technical support, or complicated technological mishaps. Unlimited IT support services help the whole team work efficiently without worrying about significant system issues or constant interruptions.

Our additional security services include:

  • Unlimited Remote and/or On-Site IT Support of All Your Hardware and Software
  • Improved Network Performance and Security
  • HIPAA Compliant Off-Site and Local Backup Service (Darkhorse Secure Backup)
  • Managed Antivirus, Anti-Malware, and Anti-Ransomware (Darkhorse Security Products)
  • Compliance & Security Laws Standards
  • Microsoft Security Patch Management
  • Vendor Management: We will be on the phone, not your employees
  • Secure, Remote Access to Your Office
  • Firewall Management
  • Network Management
  • Long Term Planning and Budgeting

Contact us anytime if you want to learn more about our dental-specific solutions and unlimited support packages. Our friendly customer service team will get back to you in no time.

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Darkhorse Dental IT Is Here For You

We understand that caring for your patients is your top priority. Dealing with a computer issue, slow IT response time or HIPAA compliance requirements just aren’t high on your list of to-do’s. That’s where Darkhorse Dental Tech comes in. Our team of Dental IT specialists are experts when it comes to running a great, secure and successful practice —and so much more. Whether you’re looking for IT services for startups, or existing support and security services for your practice, Darkhorse can do it all for you, so you can get back to your patients.

Have questions? Looking for ideas? Just want to talk teeth? Drop us a line at to get the conversation started! Or head to our Contact page to send us a message. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

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